Washington, D.C., December 13, 2022 - In the immediate aftermath of the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev met with the Czechoslovakian Communist Party leader, Antonín Novotný, and told him that “this time we really were on the verge of war,” according to minutes of their October 30, 1962, meeting posted today by the National Security Archive. “We were truly on the verge of war,” Khrushchev repeated later in the meeting, during which he explained how and why the Kremlin “had to act very quickly” to resolve the crisis as the U.S.
Cuba and Caribbean
Washington, D.C., November 3, 2022 – As Cuban-Soviet ties grew stronger from late 1960 through early 1961, the Cubans repeatedly asked for military assistance and security guarantees from the Soviets and expressed growing concern about the threat of a U.S. intervention, according to Russian archival documents published today by the National Security Archive. The Cubans described to the Soviet leadership detailed scenarios for a Bay-of-Pigs style invasion only months before the Kennedy administration mounted its failed covert operation in April 1961.
Washington D.C., October 28, 2022 - Sixty years ago today, the most dangerous days of the Cuban Missile Crisis came to an end—and the cover-up of the deal that would end the crisis began. President John F. Kennedy rejected Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's proposal to formalize a secret missile trade on paper. Kennedy then secretly orchestrated a political attack on U.N.
Washington, D.C., October 27, 2022 - The most dangerous 24 hours of the Cuban Missile Crisis came on Saturday, October 27, 1962, 60 years ago today, as the U.S. moved closer to attacking Cuba and nuclear-armed flashpoints erupted over Siberia, at the quarantine line, and in Cuba itself—a rapid escalation that convinced both John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to strike the deal that would stop events from further spiraling out of control.
Washington, D.C., October 21, 2022 - President John F. Kennedy made unilateral decisions to blockade Cuba and approve other military moves, but winning the support of European allies remained central to U.S. policy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, according to declassified records of briefings prepared for NATO members shortly before Kennedy announced the U.S. discovery of the Soviet missiles.
Washington D.C., October 17, 2022 - In a secret “eyes only” memorandum for John F. Kennedy, written 60 years ago today at the outset of the Cuban Missile Crisis, U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson admonished the president to abandon his initial plan to attack Cuba and to consider, instead, the diplomatic option of dismantling U.S. missile bases in Europe in return for the withdrawal of the Soviet missiles in Cuba.
Washington, D.C., October 14, 2022 - Today the National Security Archive publishes for the first time in any language a translation of the first meeting between Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban Defense Minister Raul Castro on July 18, 1960. The newly available transcript helps explain Khrushchev’s 1962 determination that defending Cuba from U.S. intervention would require a massive Soviet military base in Cuba, together with the deployment of nuclear weapons.
The Cuban Missile Crisis actually lasted 59 days, not the fabled "13 days" so familiar from books and Hollywood. Soviet nuclear warheads arrived in Cuba on October 4, 1962, and did not leave until December 1. Those warheads were never detected by U.S. intelligence while they were in Cuba.
Washington, D.C., October 3, 2022 - Sixty years ago, on October 1, 1962, four Soviet Foxtrot-class diesel submarines, each of which carried one nuclear-armed torpedo, left their base in the Kola Bay, part of the massive Soviet deployment to Cuba that precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis. An incident occurred on one of the submarines, B-59, when its captain, Valentin Savitsky, came close to using his nuclear torpedo. Although the Americans weren’t even aware of it at the time, it happened on the most dangerous day of the crisis, October 27.
Washington D.C., February 2, 2022 – On the eve of the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s executive order imposing “an embargo on all trade with Cuba,” the National Security Archive today posts a collection of previously declassified documents that record the origins, rationale, and early evolution of punitive economic sanctions against Cuba in the aftermath of the Castro-led revolution. The documents show that the initial concept of U.S.